The USPS comes through once again with a letter Marissa sent to Ryan just before she croaked her last croak, which gives Ryan pause about Taylor and which Kirsten eventually finds. Ryan and Taylor clash about bringing her to Chrismukkah dinner, and then fall off a ladder and into the most patently TV coma ever. The only person who can even pretend to care that the two of them are vegetal is Julie Cooper, and that's only because she doesn't really want to go to Riverside for the holidays. Everybody else on the show knows it's one of those comas that will be over in 45 minutes, so they chill out, mostly. Veronica Townsend, for example, chills out all the way to Cabo. The bulk of the episode takes place inside Taylor and Ryan's shared coma. Comas are explained to us as something like video games you play with your brain chemistry: if Ryan can get over Marissa and remember the Cohens love him, and if Taylor can get her head around the fact that her mom's a worthless bitch, then they'll wake up. This is explained about a million times, and is far less interesting than Taylor's theory that they are in an alternate universe which they have to "fix." (Tell me you wouldn't at least make out with the boy version of yourself in an alternate universe. Come on.)
In alt-world, the following things are true: Ryan never came to Newport, and Taylor is a totally hot dude for some weird reason. Summer is mentally compromised, trashy, and marrying Che, who is Luke now, and it looks good on him. Marissa died in the TJ, causing her parents to get divorced and her sister to become (even more) awesome. Seth sucks worse than we've ever seen him sucking, there is no such thing as Chrismukkah, Kirsten and Jimmy are together and she leads the Newport Group with an iron fist, Sandy is the Mayor of Newport Beach and for some reason is hooked up with media-hungry "philanthropist" Julie Cooper. As in any universe, Julie is still the best thing about life. Taylor yells at Veronica in the coma to protect her male self and immediately wakes up, over it to the point that she can just kind of ignore her mom's bitchiness altogether. Ryan mourns Marissa out on the beach after trying desperately to repair all the relationships that aren't his problem, and finally wakes up. Julie, having read the goodbye letter from Marissa, and having reached some kind of closure, gives Ryan the best Chrismukkah gift of all: an end to their murderous blood vendetta. Awww. Merry Chrismukkah!
I'm really sorry to have to tell you this, but Sara M is in a little bit of a coma, so I'm doing the recaps this week and next. It's my fault, really: I told her I would give her twenty bucks for a bareknuckle cage fight with a hobo, and he felled her in the first ten seconds with a mighty uppercut. I really thought she had a good chance, because I've seen her in similar situations before and she can fight like a motherfucker, but you know the homeless: they fight dirty. So while we're in alt-world I will be your recapper. We wish her a Merry Chrismukkah and a swift recovery.
Kirsten comes into the kitchen and catches Ryan in a moment of leisure, so she goes all Dursley about how he dare take five seconds for himself when Seth's Chrismukkah obsession is on the line, and he pleads a coffee break, per union rules. She reminds him of how they all live under Seth's emo thumb and that if he doesn't get his rooftop reindeer he's going to send them all out into the cornfield like on Twilight Zone, then segues hamfistedly into asking if he's inviting "anybody" for dinner, meaning Taylor Townsend. He notes that this is hardly a subtle way of inquiring into their relationship status, and Kirsten jumps to the obvious truth that asking a girl to a family dinner on Christmas is tantamount to pitching troth. Which it is. "It's Chrismukkah! We make our own rules," Kirsten grins, and Ryan gets a little sassy with her, but gives in. The doorbell rings and Kirsten wigs about how it's got to be her "ham guy," and runs off, leaving Ryan alone in the kitchen, where he finds a Bartlebied letter from Marissa Cooper.
I loved Marissa Cooper, honestly. She was my favorite character on the show and I'm not even going to try to justify that. Just loved her. But you know who I love more than Marissa? Julie and Kaitlin, who are packing up for what Kaitlin calls "Christmas in the ghetto." Julie corrects her: they're actually going to Riverside, which is only tangential to the ghetto, and reminds us viewers that that's where their family is from. Ew. "I thought we were in denial about that?" says Kaitlin, and then they share a look as Taylor approaches, caroling through the house. She comes in carrying a big wrapped gift, which Kaitlin half-assumes is for her; she half-apologizes for not getting Taylor anything. It's actually a Foreman grill for Ryan -- because "he likes lean meat, obviously" -- about which weird sexual innuendo she grins her usual weird grin. Julie: "Lovely." She invites Taylor to Riverside, noting that Summer's spending the holiday at the Cohens', and then dimly remembers that Taylor has a family of her own. Nobody ever remembers that!